Unlike the web design and development community web hosting and infrastructure is into “green” in a big way. Since sustainability may be achieved, in part, by energy efficiency, hosting companies and meta-providers like Google and Amazon have real reasons to support sustainable design. It also doesn’t hurt your reputation. Here’s a story about them slobbering up to Greenpeace
Here’s an article describing Facebook’s green server farm
Like other recent efforts like Google’s ####, Facebook has worked hard enough to get formal certification for their installation.
Here’s the Youtube video for the installation
The facility was located in an area with cool, dry air most of the year. Water is recovered for local use in server air humidification, plus toilets and plants. LED lights reduce energy greatly over regular fluorescent lights. In addition, lights turn off if someone leaves the room.
In the server area, Facebook uses Open Compute servers, with batteries in parallel, and higher voltage 240v to increase efficiency. The open server racks receive air piped down from the human area. After humidification by sprayers, it circulates and cools the servers. The hot air is separated, and piped out either to the exterior or the office space.
The data center also has large solar panels. However, as one might expect, it’s not nearly enough to run the servers. Instead, the panels run computers in the office. The size of the panels shown makes me want to see just what other “green” web hosting companies run by solar power are doing – their panels must be quite large if they are really getting 100% of their electricity from them.
The video shows there’s is lots of potential to dramatically reduce electricity consumption at data centers. Designers may have easier choices in the next few years trying to find “green” places to store and deliver their data and media.